BEIJING – China urged the United States on Thursday to stop harassing overseas companies, and slammed President Donald Trump’s decision to sign a national emergency order that prohibits US firms from using foreign-made equipment, citing espionage fears.
The US move, which effectively takes aim at Chinese telecom giant Huawei, comes as the two economic superpowers are locked in a bitter unending trade war.
“Nobody sees this move as constructive or friendly and we urge US to stop using such practices,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told reporters.
Lu said China opposes countries that create problems using national security as an excuse.
He, however, added that foreign companies operating in China lawfully had nothing to be concerned about.
“But when Chinese companies are wrongly treated, China has the right to take necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests,” Lu said.
He said his country “always asks its companies to comply by local laws and regulations when they operate overseas.”
China’s commerce ministry on Thursday also urged the US not to implement the executive order that bars American companies from using telecommunications equipment made by Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
“The executive order is an abuse of national security and unilateral trade sanctions,” the ministry’s spokesperson, Gao Feng, told reporters.
According to state-owned TV network CGTN, Gao also asked the US to respect market economy rules and build a transparent and unbiased commercial environment for foreign companies.
On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order that declared a national emergency and prohibits American companies from using telecom equipment manufactured by firms allegedly trying to spy on the US.
The order effectively restricts American business with companies like Huawei.
Trump took the action to thwart “foreign adversaries who are actively and increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology infrastructure and services in the United States,” the White House said.
However, it made no direct reference to China, with whom the US is engaged in a bitter trade dispute.
While both countries say that negotiations to resolve the trade dispute have not yet collapsed, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said that “good faith, mutual respect, equality and benefits” were necessary in order to reach an agreement, adding that even when the US caused difficulties in the past, China did its best and maintained a positive attitude.
The executive order does not automatically impose restrictions on the purchase of telecommunications equipment but gives the US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross 150 days to determine which companies must be subject to new restrictions because they pose a danger to US security.
Chinese telecom giant Huawei said Thursday that the decision by Washington to put restrictions on its activities in the US will only harm the interests of American companies and consumers.
In a statement, the tech giant called the restrictions “unreasonable” and said they would “infringe upon Huawei’s rights and raise other serious legal issues.”
“Restricting Huawei from doing business in the US will not make the US more secure or stronger; instead, this will only serve to limit the US to inferior yet more expensive alternatives leaving the US lagging behind in 5G deployment, and eventually harming the interests of US companies and consumers,” it added.